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why the vote of Amazon employees to form a union is historic

DECRYPTIONIt is an important battle that is being played out in Alabama right now. On Monday, a vote for or against the creation of a union in an Amazon warehouse in that state ended after a high-profile campaign. Because such a creation would be a first for the e-commerce giant in the United States, and could, according to the press, cause the resurgence of unions in the country.

Between the employees and the management of Amazon, the fight has been going on for months. Currently, Amazon employs over 800,000 people in the United States, making it the second-largest employer after Walmart, but not a single one of its employees is unionized. In February, the 5,800 employees of the Bessemer site finally obtained a vote for or against the creation of a union. A vote that can change history, Amazon having always firmly opposed the creation of unions across the Atlantic, for reasons of principle more than the cost of labor.

Amazon campaigns against unions

Because Amazon pays its employees rather better than the average, and provides them with decent health insurance. But in return, he wants to keep great flexibility in the organization of work. So far, the giant has always won. With each attempt to create a union, Jeff Bezos’ group has mobilized considerable resources by calling on “union busters”, union consultants who use all the techniques of political campaigns such as advertising, video, social networks, to dissuade employees from unionizing, often successfully. Employees have also said that Amazon flooded them with texts, posters and meetings to brandish the scarecrow of high union dues.

Alabama is one of those southern states dubbed the “right to work states”, where employees are not required to pay union dues. In other states, all employees are required to contribute. And it is for the maintenance of this system that Amazon is fighting, but also many American companies, who want very liberal areas to coexist within the world’s largest economy and others where social standards are stricter. For Amazon, it is this diversity of situations that drives the American economy and that must be maintained.

A historic vote, insists the American press

The counting of votes sent by post is due to begin on Tuesday, under the leadership of the federal agency responsible for labor law. Results aren’t expected until the end of the week at best. In the meantime, the American press follows this soap opera with attention, and insists on its historical aspect. For the Washington Post, which recalls that Joe Biden defended the right of workers to vote without being pressured by their employer, this vote is quite simply one of the most important union battles in recent history. For its part, the Dallas Morning News recalls that many employees complain about their tiring day, being most of the time standing for ten hours with only two 30-minute breaks.

According to the magazine Time, this unionization could trigger a chain reaction nationwide and trigger a resurgence of unions. And whatever the outcome of the vote, the New York Times assures us that this union campaign has already succeeded in shaking the biggest e-commerce company in the world.

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